George W. Bush skrev i februar 2002 en setning som er ubehagelig sett i lys av Abu Ghraib:
«I accept the legal conclusion of the attorney general and the department of justice that I have the authority to suspend Geneva [conventions] as between the US and Afghanistan,» Mr Bush writes. «I reserve the right to exercise this authority in this or future conflicts.»
Dette var ikke en personlig betraktning. Den står i en hemmelig ordre.
Enkelte føler liberale medier kaster seg over POW-skandalen og blåser den opp, men det er trolig å undervurdere dens sprengkraft.
Rumsfeld kommer heller ikke heldig fra det når han får seg forelagt beskrivelse av forhørsteknikker der fangen blir tvunget til å stå i maksimum fire timer:
A November 27 2002 memo explicitly sanctions measures outlawed under the Geneva convention, such as forcing detainees to stand for up to four hours. It includes an acerbic comment from Mr Rumsfeld, who uses a lectern as his desk: «I stand for eight-10 hours a day. Why is standing limited to four hours?»
The most damning document is an August 1 2002 memo from Jay Bybee, then assistant attorney general, which argues that torture – and even the killing – of prisoners could be justified to protect US security. It gives the president legal authority to override rules on torture. The memo proposes a narrow definition of torture, saying it would apply only to excruciating pain. Officials tried to distance the White House from the memo. But its author was made a federal judge last year.
Suzanne Goldenberg in Washington
Thursday June 24, 2004